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Re: Debian UK

* Philip Hands (phil@hands.com) wrote:
> Stephen Frost wrote:
> > * Simon Huggins (huggie@earth.li) wrote:
> >
> >>I realise that money can be very devisive but these are relatively small
> >>amounts of money used well for the good of Debian.
> >  
> > Even small amounts of money can change people's priorities.
> It seems that you are under the impression that the activities such as the
> selling of T-shirts are done for the purpose of raising money.  (Not
> surprising given the spin that MJ Ray's been putting on it)

It doesn't actually make any difference at all to me.  The issue here is
that you're operating commercially while trying to appear as part of
Debian.  In the end, Debian needs to decide if it will partake in
commercial activities.  From what I've heard so far the answer has been
'no', with concerns about losing donations of hardware and hosting and
whatnot, esp. from universities.  I don't know how real those concerns
are, but I know I've heard them.

Personally, I think it's something Debian should do, with perhaps
eventually having Debian able to sustain itself.  Certainly, I feel that
Debian should remain non-profit but I don't believe that prevents it
from selling things (perhaps I'm wrong).

That's neither here nor there though.  The issue at hand is if 'Debian'
operating in other countries will allow itself to do things 'Debian'
itself doesn't, and I certainly don't think it should.

I certainly have no qualms with you setting up a company, society,
organization, whatever, which sells t-shirts, buys a few beers, and
contributes money to Debian.  Don't call it Debian though, it's not.

I would certainly appriciate an organization of appropriate kind in the
UK to handle Debian/SPI funds.  That organization should be accountable
to the DPL and Debian, should provide periodic accounting reports, and
should only recieve/spend money as appropriate for Debian.  Currently,
unfortunately, it sounds like that's not Debian-UK as currently

> So, we do trade T-Shirts, but the primary motivation is to provide Debian
> fans with stuff they might like, not to make money out of it.

My recollection is that Debian, at other expos and conventions where
Debian has been present, has given out CDs and t-shirts for free.  I'm
not entirely sure where they've come from but I think they've been
donated to Debian for that purpose.  I don't recall seeing anything on
the Debian/SPI expense reports about buying them though.

I also recall some Debian 'PR' mailing list or discussion about it and
gathering the appropriate materials and whatnot for a booth.  I think
that was in the US, but I'm not entirely sure.  I also don't know the
current status or what they do exactly these days.

> I agree that there is a danger of corruption that goes along with the
> presence of money, but I don't appreciate the implication that such
> corruption is inevitable.  In fact the level of honesty demonstrated by
> those involved over the years has been impeccable.  There have been many
> occasions where people who could certainly have done with the money have
> had physical access to hundreds or thousands of pounds in cash, without
> incident.

I didn't mean to imply that there exists or would exist corruption.  My
concern is that Debian has thusfar, from all I've been able to tell,
decided to be a non-commercial entity and that Debian in other countries
should adhere to that as well.  If you're not intending to be 'Debian'
in the UK then a name change is in order.  If you are, then you need to
be non-commercial, or convince Debian to go commercial itself.

> Rather than attempting to imply that there must always be an ulterior
> motive, I think we (Debian as a whole) should congratulate ourselves that
> we've managed to establish an environment in which such ethical behaviour
> can be expected.

I didn't mean to imply an ulterior motive.  I appriciate your interest
in attempting to have Debian be a commercial entity but I feel that
you're going about it in quite the wrong way.



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